Sunday, 14 September 2014

Over to Gnu - 1979 Now!, Gig reports, Rebellion,Trash'd, Leicester, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, lots of videos, The Scottish Referendum-Postscript, Upcoming gigs, Recommendations,The Fall book & more.

It's been a funny old month or so, summer suddenly morphing in to autumn overnight and then back to summer again. After the relative idleness of August a slightly unsettling feeling of anticipation creeping up with all the activity on the horizon. First up....

1979 Now! Vic Godard & Subway Sect - Recorded & produced by Edwyn Collins & Seb Lewsley at West Heath Studios. More fab design & artwork by Andrew Paul Shaw. Release 6th October 2014 on Aed Records. STONKING!  Available to Pre-order from Aed NOW 
If you want to read the reviews below clearly -
Great first three reviews from When Skies Are Grey, Uncut and Mojo!

So I don't duplicate the press release info or sleeve notes I've gone down a different route and created a page covering the two years the LP was recorded over.

PS If you have read the Mojo article about Vic you can find out about the 'several' releases Vic has had since since End Of The Surrey People including  Blackpool (they got the info on that wrong) on the main website. Also a shame it says 1979 Now! is out now on 'Gnu Records'?? (we're gnu inc) instead of out on 6th Oct on Aed records, smacks of journalistic laziness in my opinion. And another thing Vic didn't say ''Looking back, the early line up of the Sect should never have split up.'' and never uses the word 'guys' as in 'those guys in Television'! Why make things up?

Gnu's Gig Reports
I've wanted to visit Blackpool since I was a nipper and had built up an image in my mind's eye, suffice to say I had very high expectations, hordes of holiday makers, donkeys on the beach, The Winter Gardens and Tower Ballroom the epitome of northern glamour (I blame Strictly Come Dancing for that particular one), bright lights and in my imagination The Blackpool Tower was the companion piece to The Eiffel Tower................... For a Friday in August it was eerily quiet and empty, maybe the idea of all those old punks scared everyone away!
Video below 'Car Banter on Arrival in Blackpool'

Stayed in a lovely hotel inside Blackpool FC (view from our room on the right), very helpful and friendly staff, very clean and comfy, car park and I even got up for breakfast which was very good.......because it was incredibly, wonderfully quiet, didn't wake up once and had very good night's sleep. Highly recommend.
PS The night security guard sitting in pitch (forgive the pun!) dark in the lobby did comment to us as we went out for a fag at about 1am 'Good as it gets on quiet Friday', not sure what that meant but might explain a lot.
The Pavilion Rebellion by Lisa Twinkle 08082014
 Rebellion itself was an interesting, vaguely surreal experience, musically not exactly my cup of tea and more like a reunion than a festival, a very friendly and appreciative crowd with a sprinkling of tourists wandering around with bemused expressions. Mark
had to pull out (curse of the Groulig??) so it was a four piece Sect and a punk set, which went down well. Big up to the whole Rebellion Team, brilliant organisation and food and drink provided (the food was singularly unappetising by the time we ate though)  Vic got lost (par for the course!) in the Blackpool one way for about an hour looking for a park but once Kev guided him back with his mobile sat nav he got a pass for a car park conveniently opposite the Winter Gardens. The merch table was ready and waiting, outside The Pavilion on the Horseshoe so did not actually see the gig, caught glimpses of the group on a screen through the nearby entrance, which explains the poor quality of the 'Blackpool in Blackpool' video below.

The only exception to all the lovely people I met was the cheeky git (won't name the publication he works for, even though he waved his ID at me to make sure I noticed!) who came up and just said "Can I have a free CD to review?" Now anyone who knows, knows we at gnu inc are pretty amenable to the quid pro quo when it comes to cds for reviews, what set the hackles rising a smidge in this particular instance was he didn't say please (Manners Maketh The Man -  William of Wykeham 1324-1404) and he didn't name any particular CD making it obvious he neither knew nor cared what the latest release was or when it came out he was just after a freebie. I demurred, pointing out 30 Odd Years came out in February but I'm ashamed to say I gave in and gave him a won't be surprised no hint of a review yet.* All around the walls facing the band merch tables were the official/paid for and, obviously much larger merch stands (a necessary evil to help with funding I suppose), selling  ubiquitous amounts of faux punk gear, myriad copies of Vivienne Westwood designs, Sex Pistols T's,etc., all shut up and behind metal barriers by the time I set up at 9pmish, in fact on my side of the Horseshoe I was on my tod in the selling band merch stakes by the time Vic went on stage. Fingers crossed they can keep this festival going for a good long while yet. 
* Turns out there was a v short live review in said unnamed publication, so did I misunderstand and did this person mean a CD in exchange for a live review? Never come across that before and would have said an outright no.
We bid farewell to Blackpool-

Heading South to round off the Sect Festival Season.............................................................

So pleased Ben Shape, Keith Rodway and the Trash Cannes Crew asked Vic to play his first ever gig in Hastings at their fabulous new arts festival Trash Cannes Presents Trash’d New Wave Festival. Vic and the Sect played at The Brass Monkey, great atmosphere, very friendly welcome and everyone there was very accommodating and helpful, special big up to the brilliant sound man. The crowd were warm and appreciative and you could tell how much the group were enjoying themselves by how well they all played, I think one of the best sets they've done. The New York Dollies made a big impact, loved their set, particularly their version of Nobody's Scared, so much in fact they are now booked to play at 100 Club Left in November. AND Jacko was there,it was his Northern Soul 45s lent to Vic via Myers that inspired the songs on 1979 Now! 
Photograph by Trash Canne's resident photographer Mark Richards
                                'Born To Be A Rebel' video courtesy of Amanda Thompson.
I don't think I've heard the Sect do better live versions of these two songs, Imbalance and Stool Pigeon, love the video which is courtesy of Trash Canne's Keith Rodway, gives a real flavour of the Trash'd vibe


 Had a lovely walk along the beach, then chilled on a groyne for a while, I'd forgotten how impressive the vista was, a shame about the pier, another to add to the list of burnt out shells of listed Victorian piers which seem to be becoming the visitor attraction de rigeur for all traditional seaside resorts.  

Back North for the only Subway Sect 3 Nighter of 2014-

Photographs (above and below) courtesy of Kevin Hewick and Debra Gale
 18th September and we headed to Leicester for Magic Teapot & Promotions Promotions Presents @ The Musician CLYDE STREET LEICESTER LE1 2DE. A brilliant night, huge thanks to Ian, John and everyone at The Musician for the welcome and hospitality and to everyone who came along, great sets from Brassick Bears and Kevin Hewick. Look out for upcoming episode of Television Blues, which Vic and the Sect recorded an interview for. I was round the corner, a fair distance away but my normal talking voice was apparently louder than Vic and the Sects' and I was asked to pipe down. I blame drama school, the only thing I came away with was the curse of projecting my voice! My videos were useless but here's a great version of Oh Alright Go On Then courtesy of Adrian Manning-

We stayed at Premier Inns for all three dates, first one was Leicester Central (A50 ) Heathley Park Groby Road Leicester LE3 9QE. Slightly odd set up in that you had breakfast in the pub across the car park and as it ended at 9am I didn't partake but Vic said it lived up to the other PI breakfasts he's had. Friendly helpful staff, comfy, quiet and decent sized car park so would definitely stay again.

Vic in natural pose courtesy of 'Jane Barnes'
 Friday 19th and on to Newcastle and a favourite destination - Michael Clunkie's Children of Godard Presents at the Star and Shadow Cinema Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2NP. It was an eventful night! A packed bill kicking off with Geoffrey Taylor’s short film ‘Close’ featuring ‘Birth and Death’ & ‘Empty Shell’, then Martyn Smith's shortish film 'Vic: A Work In Progress ( ), then Girl With The Replaceable Head, The Fallen Leaves and then a great Sect set (despite technical issues, stage invasion and a near punch up!) Plus DJ Trevor Johnson with another music in a different kitchen . Trevor is playing the whole Subway Sect live set on his next AMIADK show on Thursday 2nd October 7-9pm on Hive Radio: 
Sadly the Star and Shadow is having to leave it's current home in December but happily plans are afoot to relocate.

We stayed at Premier Inn (Millenium Bridge), possibly one of their best, it has a restaurant, bar open til 3am (can vouch for that!) and late breakfast, as good as the other PIs. Friendly helpful staff, comfy, clean, quiet (if you're a light sleeper and facing the front you'll need to close the window) and reasonable sized car park. Highly recommend.  

Thought I'd uploaded 2 videos from Newcastle but it turned out to be two from the Westgarth on 20th, Better Not Turn On leading to the Blackpool 'interlude'! Apologies for poor visuals, not sure what I thought I was filming (unless it was the unconscious person in the corner!) or if I thought I was filming. 

Vic 2 Mics by 'Jane Barnes'
 Saturday 20th Rounded off the Three Dayer in Middlesbrough at Minus Me Presents at The Westgarth Social Club 99a Southfield Road Middlesbrough TS1 3EZ with the Fallen Leaves on board again and the wonderful Pellethead. Everyone was warmly welcomed, the Leaves polished fast paced, 60's garage inspired set  and Pellethead did not disappoint, really enjoyed their set. There were some technical hitches which Vic overcame in his own inimitable way and is now known as Vic 2 Mics Godard. 

 Video 'McGuire' by Pellethead, filmed by me and at least the sound is good, even if the visuals leave a bit to be desired. 

and The Cupboard Is Bare


Further Treats In Store                                                                                                                     
  4th - The Seventh Wave Presents at The Flapper
Cambrian Wharf, Kingston Row, Birmingham, B1 2NU
Plus Blue Orchids Plus Church Of Elvis
After a fantastic night earlier this year for Chris Wave, high expectations for the 1979 Now! release do with Martin Bramah's Blue Orchids, Church of Elvis and DJ 11pm-Midnight. We'll have the LP! The CD, The T shirts, The Badges, The Postcards, Mugs and A 1979 Now! Raffle. 

9th – Spinning Chilli Presents Peel Night at The Green Door Store
Unit 2, 3, & 4 Trafalgar Arches, Lower Goods Yard, Brighton Train Station, BN1 4FQ Brighton

Celebrating Spinningchilli's 5th Peel Night, treats galore with The mighty Cravats, The Fallen Leaves, Peel plays and compere for the night, overseeing events and hoping to keep a semblance of order to the proceedings is Alternative TV's Lee McFadden. Get there early.    
Tickets from Resident Records &

 18th Covo club - Associazione Culturale Hovoc Viale Zagabria, 140127 Bologna 
Well who'd have thought it. The one and only Subway Sect European foray this year is to Bologna. It's a short trip but worth it and everyone looking forward to it as you can imagine.


Only one visit to Scotland this year and hard to believe but it's been two years since Subway Sect played in Glasgow and Edinburgh with the divine Sexual Objects so everyone is champing at the bit. Going to be a memorable couple of nights! Is that Live In Stereo 3 I see before me?   

14th – Sounds in the Suburbs Presents at
Stereo Cafe Bar 20 - 28 Renfield Lane, G2 6PH Glasgow, United Kingdom
15thSounds in the Suburbs Presents at
The Voodoo Rooms 19a West Register St Edinburgh EH2 2AA

20th  & Gnu Inc Present ‘Club Left’ 2014
100 Club London
 In keeping with the tradition of the original Club Left Vic's reunion with the three of the four 1981/2 Subway Sect is on a Thursday and relocated to the 100 Club. Dave Collard isn't able to make it over from the US so Vic, Sean McClusky, Chris Bostock and Rob Marche will be joined by guest pianist and trumpet player, they're hoping to get together soon for their first rehearsal in decades of the Songs For Sale numbers.A night of delights with New York Dollies and Jake Vegas, original Club Left DJ Johnny Britton spinning the discs and more. Tickets:


  On the way to Hastings Vic and I stopped off at the The Llama Park in Ashdown Forest for a pee and ended staying for lunch. Very good, freshly cooked and prepared food, will definitely be back for a llama walk and lunch. That's Arthur on the left.

The James Plays - Read the reviews from The Edinburgh Festival production and I was going to book for all three but not possible so have chosen James 1 The Key Will Keep The Lock. Decided not to sit on the stage!

2nd November - Monorail Flim Club is hosting the Scottish premiere of 'The Possibilities Are Endless' at the Glasgow Film Theatre. There will be a Q&A with Edwyn Collins and Grace Maxwell, and a short acoustic set.

 'Bradford Street' - A collection of some of the captivating and evocative photographs of life on the streets of John Bolloten. First Edition Sold Out (we got one, nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh). 2nd Edition in the shops imminently.
PS One of my very favourite photographs of Vic is one of Mr Bolloten's portrait of him at the Knavesmire York.  

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (1853) - Herman Melville 1819–1891
I'd never read this but love the brilliant 1972 Bartleby film starring Paul Scofield and John McEnery. It's an engrossing read, concise, still prescient and relevant. This is a link to an early scene here from the English version of the film: This is the whole of the French version from 1970 and the video below is a clip from the American version.

I know I said in the last blog that I'm not keen on 'muso' books and then went on to say I'd found the exception to the rule in Kevin Pearce's 'A Moment Worth Waiting For', the book that keeps on giving (buy it, it won't let you down) BUT I've found another! 

The Big Mid Week Life Inside The Fall by Steve Hanley & Olivia Piekarski  The odds were against me liking this book or ever being tempted to read it. I'm not mad on The Fall and I don't get (mea culpa) the hoo ha about Mark E Smith as a lyricist but like some of the music, mostly the early years, Vic refuses to believe this and thinks I'm being politic but I assure you I really do like some of the punky almost avant guarde early 'tunes'. Vic says I should ask Ian (Holford), an expert on the subject Vic assures me, to try and enlighten me on the subject. Anyway back to Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski's book, first off I haven't read it yet. So, how can I recommend it, you may be asking? I bought it for Vic for his birthday and he is about half way through so I am being a bit previous but from what Vic has said about what he has read so far and from the large chunks he has read out to me when I've been on't laptop, this book is a joy. It is undoubtedly Olivia Piekarski's witty and engaging presentation of Steve Hanley's tale, or rather many tales, of a group(s!) on the road to fame and fortune, the perils and the pitfalls, that make it such a gratifying read. Although I'm sure some, if not most of the events regaled were not remotely funny at the time, Olivia Piekarski's entertaining way with the words has made me laugh a lot and and helpless on occasion. There is an added piquancy for anyone who is/has been in a group, been on the road, etc but you certainly don't need to be a Fall fan to enjoy this book, it is a stand alone jolly good read so far and I have high hopes for the second half. Official release 15th September, both authors will be appearing at a series of upcoming events, details and more here: 

The Scottish Referendum - Postscript
Written before the referendum - I  wasn't sure about putting in my tuppence worth, being English and not having a vote but I am an interested party in how this all turns out and the result of the referendum has implications for everyone in the UK. It has only really impacted deeply on my consciousness in the last couple of months as the debate has become more lively and intense, it is a shame that some have resorted to tribalism, but that was bound to happen. When I first started thinking about Scottish Independence it was in terms of which way the vote would go and why and I have to admit I did get distracted by all the scare mongering hyperbole being spouted by all the politicians about the economic effects of a Yes/No vote. Then a couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a revelatory moment and it suddenly occurred to me I was looking at it all wrong -  there is no reason why anyone in the UK would trust any promises politicians make in order to win the day, including Mr Salmond, or imagine that any politician will do anything other than continue to pander to big business, unless checked. How many of us have suffered the effects of repeated economic downturns over the last few decades, income, public services, education provision, the NHS, all shrinking as the power of the private sector grows and the power of the people diminishes. None of us know what is round the corner economically speaking, whether there is another  disaster waiting to be offloaded on to us by the financial sector, so I decided to take economics out of the equation completely and imagined instead that I live in Scotland and had a vote. How do I think I would cast that vote? My theoretical reasoning is based on political belief and emotion, Mr Salmond was a bit of an obstacle, I'm really not a fan but then it occurred that he is First Minister in the current set up and may lead an interim government should Scottish Independence be won but then there would have to be an election. All in all if given the opportunity to kick out a government made up of the privileged elite working for the privileged elite and to start again where it could be down to the collective will of the people what kind of government they end up with I like to believe I would choose the leap in to the unknown and vote yes but the onus is not on me to make this decision, so easy for me to say. Roll on 18th September.
After the referendum: Serious feeling of deflation. It is less than two weeks since this potentially momentous event and it almost feels like it never happened. This was a record turn out, the highest since universal suffrage began here and I thought perhaps, maybe, on a good day, that this enthusiasm for and belief in People Power could be maintained, despite the no vote, and might even spread through the rest of the UK. Silly me.

Odds and Sods

The Two Year  Random Observation  - It took two years to record 1979 Now!, 1978 Now, We Come As Aliens and Sansend. (Blackpool is taking over a decade)

William of Wykeham - Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor, founder of Winchester Public School and New College, Oxford, so not a role model of mine for anything other his Manners Maketh The Man.

Just heard on Pointless that John Cleese real name is John Cheese. 'Care for some cheese, Cheese?' Tee Hee.

Smarm Alert In Teddington! After a long absence from the local public gaze following the last election, the failure of his party to keep election promises and the toadying to the tories, amongst other things, Twickenham MP Vince Cable is spotted schmoozing the Teddington electorate, three photo ops in this week's local paper, could it be the constituency boundary changes? Prior to the last election Mr Cable's photo op location of choice was Twickenham Post Office MLO (sorting/delivery office), not likely to be visiting this time round is he?

In the garden and it's October!!!

Not a black and white photograph, taken seconds after the one at the head of the blog after the sun went down.      
Gnu over and out.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Things Worth Waiting For - SUMMER, 1979 Now News/Clips, Kevin Pearce's Book, a LOT of Latitude/Borodino, RIP James Garner, More Outtakes, Demos....& More .......


The garden is looking grand, the pots and plants doing particularly well were all embedded with Vic's (patent pending) 'Pandora's Box Compost' -  contains any and all food waste plus the secret ingredients that turn it in to wonder compost! When the chicken bones  first started popping up I initially thought were the clay pipes which do surface on a regular basis, discarded by the agricultural workers who toiled in the market gardens that covered the whole area. An easy mistake to make, although admittedly they don't usually surface in numbers or as frequently as the chicken bones have been!
1979 Now! well and truly on it's way! Test LPs arrived and cleared, CD/ LP art work and on line booklet by our web guru Andrew Paul Shaw looking absolutely fab. Release put back a tad to beginning of October but hoping to have copies for gigs in September. Couple of teasers -

A snatch of You Made Me -

AND a sneaky listen to a couple of demos of songs Vic wrote in 1979, recorded at Rehearsal Rehearsal by Mickey Foote which Vic found in the middle of old cassettes including two rediscovered songs - Fortunes Come and Dead Dreamy, currently being digitalised by Mike Coe, Doctor of Music.

A fond farewell to West Heath Studios London, twenty years of music making in NW6 with Grace, Edwyn, Seb, Susan and James and wishing Edwyn and Grace a smooth transfer to Scotland. Looking forward to a recording trip at the new studio! Aed have brought out this great sampler to celebrate the last two decades, 19 of Edwyn and Seb's favourite tracks (includes Caught In Midstream) to celebrate, illustrated by Edwyn.

It's been busy at gnu inc central sorting things for a bit of a mammoth run of 13 gigs starting with Keith Allen's Establishment Club at Latitude, the first on Vic and the Sect's eclectic festival circuit (of three) and all beside the sea, yippee.

I started the blog before we went and this is what I wrote: 'I think I mentioned in the last blog that the teenage gnu once went to a rural outdoor festival in the 70's, a field, barely organised and managed to endure three hours before escaping. To this day she can't understand why, for a start, anyone wants to put themselves through the purgatory of camping at all,  stand in a field for hours and hours on end surrounded by hordes of people, possibly and quite probably in the hissing rain or boiling sun. Then there's the toilets - rather as the gnu says there aren't toilets at festivals, there are retch inducing, putrid trenches/holes/buckets that poor, 'can't possibly be being paid enough' benighted souls have to empty from time to time into larger even more putrid mobile waste containers. Of course you can now stay in a yurt at a festival with all kinds of mod cons like the essential 'rainforest' shower if you're of a mind and are well britched but it's still camping, no privacy and you can't escape torrential rain or the ensuing mud if it comes your way. Despite all this gnu's got high hopes for her Latitude experience, although has said if options are car or tent she's sleeping in the car!'

It is now post Latitude and I'll pass over to the gnu. WARNING: If you don't want to read ALL about gnu's Latitude experiences you can skip down to the Rebellion bit.

'Subway Sect's Adventure in Latitude Land 19/20th July 2014'

 Setting the mood - I am usually a bit anal about gig preparations, you know, contact with the promoter, band info in advance, transport/accommodation/fee sorted, etc, etc, and I get a bit antsy if everything isn't sorted before departure BUT Vic and I knew from the get go that Keith Allen's Establishment Club at Latitude was going to be a tad different to the normal ( I use the word loosely) Subway Sect gig so we already knew it was going to have to be a 'go with the flow' situation and had already slipped into the required mindset (both the up and downside of this is if I  'let go' then I mentally drift off the planet). Details regarding everything other than Vic and Sect were playing at The Alcove and tickets were at Blue Gate 2 (they weren't) were thin on the ground, no idea what time Vic was on, no idea if there would be tents (I think Vic and I had already tacitly agreed anyway that tent v drive home was no contest) and yet we set off on our adventure uncharacteristically and surprisingly chilled and this zen like, almost 'out of body' feeling (luckily) prevailed pretty much throughout the day/night/following morning. Off we go to Latitude World.....

Huge thanks to Keith Allen, a generous and friendly human being, for the invite, it's unlikely I would ever have experienced a rural mega festival otherwise. Ian arrived on site the day before us with his family and had set up in 'Artists Camping' (had their own tents), we had a surprisingly easy journey across London and up the A12 with a short delay at a Little Chef (after waiting 30 mins for two sandwiches Mark and Yusuf were advised that someone would check on how close to delivery they were, explains the delay!).
After arriving at the ginormous (and very hilly) site it took about an hour of trial and error to find the right gate to pick up the tickets , driving round and round both inside and outside the perimeter hoping to spot the signs in the foliage before we'd gone past them and had to go round again, ended up crawling at 15 mph on the A12 (yes there were maps of the site but you weren't allowed to take one away with you!), we kept going past one Latitude sign with a (rather appropriate I thought) arrow opposite to 'Landfill'. We missed the two music acts I wanted to see (apart from the VG&SS of course!), Booker T and Hall and Oates (although Vic and I did catch a snatch of Maneater, not a favourite, at the first gate we got out at to make ticket inquiries).

The Latitude team were very friendly and as helpful as they could be given the fairly chaotic circumstances, particularly the head office team and the poor souls wom/manning gates, that is except for one officious twit, obviously thought having a walkie talkie imbues the possessor with a license to be a prat. When we finally got through the right gate without impediment, this twerp pulled us over to point out it was one way and I honestly thought for a second he was going to suggest we turn round and go out again but perhaps realised his actual power was non existent and how foolish he sounded. Anyway no further impediment to our progress at this point. 
Wristbands finally firmly attached (if lost/removed you will be ejected or charged for another, fairly reasonable I suppose) we had to go out again to find the artists camping car park, the very first gate we went through, so another full circuit. The car park sits at the highest point on the site with artists' camping beneath and is the furthest from the arena, about one and a half miles, a fact we were blissfully unaware of at the time. Relieved to have arrived and with the sun shining and not a hint of a cloud we unloaded, taking everything down to the artist camping gate below, no tents for the group there but did find out about the trek to the arena, swiftly reassured that buggies would be ordered to take the equipment down, audible relief all round....but short lived. Not knowing stage times and with time itself eerily flying, after a half hour '10 minute' wait Kev, Mark and Yusuf set off with some of the gear.

Vic and I waited a further 20 minutes and then decided we had to make a move so took what we couldn't carry back up to the car and set off on Mau's Long March with two guitars, the keyboard, keyboard stand, tambourine and merch suitcase. After about half a mile we were knackered,  it was boiling and we had to stop and it was impossible not to dwell on what it would be like on the way back up. Thankfully I managed to grab the attention of a passing buggy (stood in his path), a very 'Smiley' driver who we fortuitously happened across again later. The ordeal wasn't over yet though, once dropped off at the arena gate, buggies not allowed inside, we had to load up again for the further schlep to The Alcove,  our final destination, if you wonder why we didn't call for help - the lack of reception, apparently texts would get through 'eventually'. 

We passed these dyed sheep on the way, also very thick coats for boiling heat. I wonder who came up with that, wrong on so many levels and adding to the general weird ambiguity and 'Alice in Latitudeland' nature of the place, Greenpeace cafe run by volunteers one side of the path juxtaposed against tortured sheep on the other.
At the Alcove got warm welcome from Keith, and introduced to Ade Latitude who offered us a ray of hope - he said we could bring the car down to unload the remaining gear and park in a small car park, a comparatively mere stone's throw away at 'Bailiff's Cottage'. Of course this still meant getting back to the car and then going out again and coming in another gate. No sign of the Sect so we divested ourselves of the gear and set out on the trek back to the car. Incredibly lucky then that when we got out of the arena our 'Smiley' driver from earlier happened to be there about to leave for the car park, untold joy! (This was the same entrance/exit we came in by, delightful area for tents/camper vans, aromas of fried food mingling with the raw sewage that was being sucked from the ' flushing loos' as we passed by, had to use one later, unpleasant experience and I'm not sqeaumish about loos, have been en plein air and used mens' at Chelsea, I'm no wuss!)

 Back in the car and in a jiffy we were out of a blue gate, round the perimeter, in a yellow gate, up the road past Bailiffs Cottage, round the barn, down the mud track, pull up on the grass and hey presto we're adjacent to the Alcove. Rest of the stuff unloaded (except Kev's new wellies and Vic's and my pacamacs!!), car removed to Bailiffs Cottage, a relative stroll away. The Sect all gathered and enjoying Keith's liberal hospitality (about 8.30pm, on stage 11.30pm) so Vic and I took to the fray of Babel, sorry the main part of the arena, in search of sustenance. It is a shock to the senses.

"Battle of Moscow, 7th September 1812", 1822 by Louis Lejeune
 Vic likened his own feelings to those of Pierre on the battlefield of Borodino (ref:War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy) without the gore. Set out like battle encampments with the overpriced ( £2.50 for tea) stalls/bars (surprised to see so many ciggie stalls), arranged in a huge undulating circle filled with noise coming at you from all directions, thousands of people, the cloying smell of steamed and fried food assailing the nostrils and surrounded by tiers of marquees, tents and a plethora of small venues and 'right on' areas filtering outwards in to woodland.

Food wise there was a lot of choice, all expensive for what you were getting but very little that smelled appetising. Ian said the restaurant by the lake was good but you needed to have booked and cash only so we settled on toasties. Now, I cannot explain why (mixture of exhaustion, hunger and culture shock perhaps) but when I read 'BBQ chicken, tomato and onion toastie what I envisaged receiving was a toasted club sandwich so you can imagine my disappointment, it was pretty vile, should have stuck to cheese. I saw a sign saying milkshakes and I do like a good milkshake so headed over only to find they were only doing one flavour....Oreo. Saw another sign saying milkshakes so headed over, had higher hopes as could see from a distance that they had a list with loads of flavours but they turned out to be things like Rolo, Crunchie, Oreo(!), Galaxy Caramel, chocolate brownie, which all have their place in the chocolate hierarchy but have no business being in a milkshake - anyway settled on Galaxy, nearest to chocolate I thought.... but I was wrong, £4.50 of yuuch. Call me cynical but I wonder if it is a deliberate ploy that it is such a trek back to the camp sites for most  people (and where would you store four days of food anyway) to encourage on site spending. You can easily see how a family (or couple eating/imbibing) could end up spending £100+ a day on site.

 On our way back to the Alcove Vic and I did catch a bit of Bombay Bicycle Club, enjoyed that, I didn't really know what they were about before. I say saw but we were at the back with zillions in front of us so were actually watching them on one of the big screens. Back at base various members of Subway Sect were  still enjoying Keith's hospitality including receptacles of rum.
Courtesy of Kevin Younger

Vic and I were still quietly (very) pleased that there had been no further mention of tents meaning we would have to drive back but then Keith offered to sort tents/blow up beds for Mark, Kev and Yusuf and a pod for me and Vic, well what could we say but thank you?....... However, circumstances can change......for some reason we'd all been ignoring the weather forecast and at about 10pm 
the skies opened, lightening, thunder and while 23 Skidoo were on  (liked their first funk number but then got a bit ambient and trancy for me) the area backstage became a quagmire, what am I saying, everywhere was becoming a quagmire and the consensus quickly turned to 'drive home after'.
Courtesy of Kevin Jackman

Vic and his very merry men took to the stage just as the marquee roof started bulging alarmingly under the weight of the water, threatening to call a halt to proceedings (that and the thunder/lightening!),  Keith did a shout out asking people to push the water off and the Sect set took off, sometimes raucous, always entertaining (apart from the banter!). The ground was becoming increasingly bog like and spongy and although I took merch it wasn't possible to set up and didn't take camera out to film either, not water/mud proof. We didn't hang around after, a bit worried about the car getting stuck in the mud. So in the teeming rain it was a swift march uphill along muddy, puddle filled tracks to bring the car down to load up, with just the one iffy moment when the car did temporarily get stuck in the mud leaving the car park but still, loaded and on the road by 1.30am. drop off in East London just before 4am, stopped off at a garage to get sandwiches, we were starving, home just before 5am, sodden shoes removed, legs and feet washed then bed.

Total combined losses: one pair of prescription sunglasses and a few 30 Odd Years (wet box gave way), Kevin  thought his phone was lost but 
amazingly Keith found it. Gains: muscles a navvy would be proud of and amongst the miscellany of bruises, bites, scratches and stings I came back with was this whopper of a bite, glad I didn't catch sight of what it was that bit me! Despite everything, I'm glad, in a masochistic kind of way, that I got the chance to experience a festival like this,  I can understand the attraction for some (mostly those under 20 and families), I wasn't bored, very pleased to have met Keith and meet up again with Viv, Ian's other half but my views about outdoor mega festivals haven't altered a jot, in fact they are now entrenched. The VG&SS general consensus was never, ever, again. For a more balanced view of Latitude try The Quietus:
Gnu out and handing back to Gert - Blime, glad I wasn't there!!

Rebellion - A Big INDOOR Festival

Friday August 8th we're piling in to the  charabanc for a trip to good old fun packed Blackpool for Rebellion, Vic and the Sect are not on Bizarre Bazaar as previously reported but The Pavilion at 10.25pm. Gnu should have merch stand from about 9.30-11.45pm in The Pavilion. They are very organised and in advance, 250 groups and it's all inside, going to love it I know despite not being a 'punk' music fan.
Video below of great version of Blackpool at The Rigger Newcastle-Under-Lyme 03/05/2014 courtesy of Darren Green. 

Directors: Keith Rodway and Garth Twa

Patron: TV Smith

Very pleased that lovely Ben Browton aka Ben Shape (lots been happening at Shape central, info at link below) invited Subway Sect to round off their festival season at Trash Cannes Festival, Hastings, a three day event in September, Vic and Subway Sect playing on Saturday 6th at The Brass Monkey with special guests the New York Dollies, a female ukelele punk band. Tickets are now available for Trash'd 2014, including a three-day festival pass, which admits you to all four events, with a free fanzine/programme and other goodies for the first 10 passes sold. The price is £16.00,  a saving of  30% off on-the-door prices.  Please click on the online store button at link below to buy your tickets and find out more!online-store/cx9x
Catch up with what the 'reformed' Shapes have been up to at:

November: Vic back in Scotland with Subway Sect.
It's been two years since the Sect went north of the border, going to be a storming return with the added bonus of having The Sexual Objects on board at two gigs for Sounds in the Suburbs Presents at Stereo Glasgow on 14th November and The Voodoo Rooms Edinburgh on the 15th. For all gig info and tickets:

Recommendation Of The Year (apart from 1979 Now and 30 Odd Years of course!)
'A Moment Worth Waiting For' by Kevin Pearce 
Cover by Per-Christian Hille

Generally speaking I don’t like books about music/musicians, often only of interest to the dedicated music aficionado or fan but of no general appeal, however I have to make an exception for Kevin Pearce’s  ‘A Moment Worth Waiting For’ and I am frankly in awe at the breadth and depth of Mr Pearce’s research. You will not be surprised that this book is so engagingly written if like me you are a follower of Mr Pearce’s seminal series of essays ‘Your Heart Out’ which in his own words is
 ‘‘Dedicated to all those who take the time and trouble to share their enthusiasms and obsessions, for whatever reason, for little return, yet in so doing enlighten and illuminate, making the world a better place, leading us to sounds and people we never dared dream exist.’’
and Mr Pearce has himself done this for us in spades. The ‘Your Heart Out’ series ended earlier this year, leaving many wondering what further enlightenment and illumination we could expect from Mr Pearce and now we know, ‘A Moment Worth Waiting For’ has been worth waiting for and more than satisfies expectations.

    Kevin Pearce invites us to join him on his musical and cultural odyssey, centred around and emanating outwards from a couple of years in the early in 1980’s. It’s 1980,Vic Godard has just released ‘What’s The Matter Boy’ and right from the start Mr Pearce offers up a veritable feast to the reader, leading us down one musical pathway after another, many ending up in totally unexpected territory, but fear not, this is the author’s story and he is the guiding light throughout the book, joining the dots to give us a pretty extensive musical and cultural overview of the times. Quotes from a number of sources are ingeniously inserted in to the narrative, always apposite, in context, always credited and some very funny, eg the ones by people who have interviewed Vic Godard, I particularly enjoyed Dave McCulloch’s ‘Baarnaard’ swipes. 
 As well as Vic Godard & Subway Sect popping up here and there these are just a few more of the zones that personally resonated with me: Creeping Bent/Davy Henderson/The Fire Engines/Edwyn Collins/Orange Juice/The Pastels/Alan Horne/ Françoise Hardy/Marc Bolan/Jonathan Richman, so many more!Then there are the pathways to reggae, soul, punk, jazz, blues, radio and so much more to explore, you’ll have to delve in yourselves to find out what is in there for you and there is sure to be something that will pique the interest, illuminate and enlighten you.  Gertie Grocott
P.S. You'll find this favourite of mine in A.M.W.W.F. - Althea and Donna 'Uptown Top Ranking' -
P.P.S. Would love to see this in print so let’s hope there is an erudite publisher out there who recognises a good read when they see one.
P.P.P.S.Another favourite I've just rediscovered in A.M.W.W.F.- Robert Knight 'Love On A Mountain Top (no there isn't a section about songs with 'Top' in the title, just coincidence!)

Highly Recommended No 2

If you are planning a visit to Norfolk then The Control Tower on the former RAF North Creake Airfield, Walsingham, a couple of miles from Wells-next-the-Sea, is a unique vegetarian B&B you may want to consider. The exterior has been returned to its iconic modernist look and the interior is furnished with beautiful art deco fixtures and furniture.

James Garner
Vic and the gnu happened to be talking about the Rockford Files and the very talented James Garner on Sunday after their return from Suffolk when they heard he had died, rest in peace.
Here's Episode 1 Part 1 Series 1 of The Rockford Files:

 Odds and Sods

Train tickets for gigs booked so far - London - Blackpool, had to book coach for Blackpool - London on way back due to line works; London - Leicester; Leicester - Newcastle; Newcastle - Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough - London. London - Birmingham return. Hotels booked so far: Blackpool, Leicester, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Wigan, Glasgow & Edinburgh.    Look out for reviews in upcoming blogs.                                                                                                             

Two sides of Dorset - the expanse of Weymouth Beach on the right and a place called Windspit on the Isle of Purbeck, a couple of miles outside Swanage, big caves are old stone quarries.

More outtakes from 'The Irvine Welsh Question' (see previous blog - Primera Persona)


Ambition number 12 in Mojo's Top 50 Independent records-


Dear Mr Khaled Mashaal (why are you hiding in Doha while your people die?) and Mr Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, please just stop this killing of innocents, there is no justification on either side for aggression that results in the terrorising, maiming and killing of children. Yours, Gert

Dear Mr Putin, enough is enough, you can end the torment of the families of those murdered in the rebel held region of the Ukraine, be a real hero, close the border and send escorts to retrieve the remaining bodies and for the accident investigators and bring the murderers to account. Yours, Gert

Dear Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson, stop being hypocrites, stop supporting arms trading with murderers, stop Russian oligarchs, and their ilk, treating the UK (sorry London) as a tax haven. There have been claims that many of these uber wealthy Russians (and their ilk) are contributing significantly to the economy of the UK, I don't count contributing to tory coffers as contributing to the economy so I'd be interested to know what they are doing for Hartlepool for example. How about a punitive tax rate for starters?
Yours, Gert

Epitaphs: Common Form by Rudyard Kipling
'If any question why we died
Tell them, because our fathers lied.'